Chandra Shekhar/Part 3/Chapter 4
he glorious moon was then smiling upon the world. On both sides of the flowing Bhagirathi, there were wide expanses of sands, which in the radiance of the moonlight wore a brighter and a more charming silvery beauty; the blue water of the Ganges were flashed with a brighter blue, in the brilliancy of that light. So was the sky over-head, with its sparkling jewels, and the trees on the bank, with their evergreen mantles. There was blue all around. In such moments, the thought of the vastness of the universe agitates the mind. The flow of the river knows no end; it has no limit so far as the eye can see—like the human fate it disappears in the misty womb of the unknown. The river was unlimited, so were the sands around, the trees on the banks, and the sky above, with its numberless starry garlands. In the face of such vastness, what man on earth can count himself as a unit of this stupendous and wonderful creation of God? Where would the pride of man be in the presence of such an all-pervading majesty, which was, in that solemn moment, manifested even in a particle of sand, lying on the river shore?
At a place by the river shore, there lay fastened a row of boats, one of which was a big Budgrow. On it, there were sentinels on watch. The two guards, stood firm and motionless, with their guns on their shoulders, like two statues of stone. Within the boat, beautiful varieties of costly chairs, sofas, pictures and statues and many other furnitures were glittering in the soft light of a valuable lamp, made of highly perfect glass. There were some Englishmen within the cabin. Two of them were playing at chess, one was drinking wine in poring over a book, and the other was playing on a musical instrument.
All on a sudden, they got startled at the fearful wail of lamentation, which rose from the river shore, disturbing the stillness of night.
"What's that?" inquired Amyatt, as he offered a check to his opponent's king.
"Some one, perhaps, has been checkmated," replied Johnson wittily.
The wails grew more fearful. The sound itself was not hideous or horrible, but in the night, in that wide lonely river shore, it resounded like a dreadful cry.
Amyatt gave up playing, and rose up. He came out of the cabin, and began to look around. He saw nobody. He noticed that there was no burning-place near by, and the sound was coming from the middle of the sandy bank. Amyatt then alighted from the boat and followed up the sound. After he had advanced a little, he saw some one sitting alone on the sands. He drew nearer, and found that a woman was crying aloud. He did not know Hindi Well, but nevertheless asked the woman, "Who are you? Why are you crying here?" The woman could not understand his wonderful Hindi, and continued to cry aloud, as before.
Amyatt not having received any reply to his repeated queries, made a sign to her to follow him. The woman rose up at the hint. Amyatt moved on, and she followed him, crying all the way as before. She was no other than wicked Shaibalini herself.